Solutions: Empty nesters’ living room transformed

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
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When empty nesters are ready to make those long overdue design updates, it’s only natural for them to go in the opposite direction from what they had. That was true for a couple that hired Patricia Warner, owner of Patricia Interiors in Shelby Township, to give their living room, among other areas, a completely new look.

First, wood floors were installed in the space that once featured shades of mauve and blue. This time around, the Shelby Township homeowners were after a neutral palette.

“They’re a lovely couple who raised triplet daughters and a son. They’re both professionals with a busy lifestyle,” Warner says. “Now that their kids are grown and gone, they’re finally able to take the time to rethink their interiors.”

Comfort was a top priority, which led to a new sofa and chairs to replace their heirloom furniture. “We wanted to soften the room, which now has a transitional look that’s inviting,” she says.

“They wanted to be able to entertain and have a place to sit when the kids come to visit,” says Warner. Though there appears to be less seating, the new pieces have more generous proportions. “The chairs they had were pretty petite and the sofa and loveseat were small,” she says. “Now they have a larger sofa and chairs that they can use for conversation.”

A leaf motif on the sofa provides the only pattern in the space. “She wanted a lighter feel for the room. In Michigan, we have a lot of gloomy days,” Warner says.

The husband spotted the chandelier in a magazine. “It’s more tailored with a little bit of sparkle,” says Warner. “The room needed extra lighting and it’s a cool focal point, with the coffee table underneath it.” Besides, she says it’s not every day you see a chandelier in a living room.

The glass and chrome fixture creates a series of reflections on the sand-colored walls that feature a textured finish.

Candle sconces mounted on weathered boards add another layer of light.

High-end pieces are paired with more economical finds, like the mirrored console that now holds a TV. The art shown has since been shifted to another spot.

The pale blue area rug was made from wall-to-wall carpet that was cut and bonded.

Solid draperies replaced the dated swag. “Side panels are simple and elegant,” Warner says. Sheers provide some privacy without blocking the view.

Identical end tables that flank the sofa are topped with crackled glass lamps. “I wanted to have some conformity,” Warner says.

A mix of pillows, including some in light blue velvet, contributes to the muted tones and textures in the room.

Now the couple looks forward to entertaining. “They absolutely love their new living room,” Warner says.

“Living rooms can also be a great place for unexpected guests,” she says. “You don’t have to worry about anything in the back of the house. It’s like a sitting room from years ago.”

For information, contact Patricia Interiors at (586) 739-0080 or go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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